ISLAMABAD -  A three-member bench of the apex court will start hearing the National Accountability Bureau’s appeal to reopen the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case from November 13.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa will head the bench, while Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel will be its members.

The NAB in its appeal has prayed to set aside the March 2014 judgment of Lahore High Court, which had ordered shelving the case against members of Sharif family and their associates.

Observers believe the reopening of the case, which seems imminent, would increase the troubles of Sharif family.

A court has issued notice to NAB Prosecutor General Waqas Qadeer Dar, who on September 15 gave an undertaking to the five-member bench – hearing Nawaz Sharif’s review petition against Panama leaks judgement – to file the appeal against the LHC judgment in Hudaibiya case.

In its appeal the corruption watchdog has made Hudaibiya Mills management, Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Abbas Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shehbaz, Shahmim Akhtar, Sabiha Abbas and Maryam Nawaz as respondents. It has also made the federation, through Law secretary, and judge of Rawalpindi Accountability Court No IV pro forma respondents.

The anti-corruption bureau in year 2000 filed a reference against the respondents before the Attock Accountability Court alleging that they remained in possession of huge amount of ill-gotten wealth (to the tune of Rs1,242.732 million), which was unexplained and disproportionate to their known sources of income.

On respondents’ petition, filed on October 17, 2011, the LHC Rawalpindi bench quashed the NAB reference.

The matter re-surfaced later but a two-member division bench of the LHC gave split decision on whether NAB was competent to re-investigate the case.

The matter was therefore sent to a referee judge, who sided with the judge deciding for closing the case.

The NAB did not file appeal against the referee judge’s verdict after that.

Now, the fresh NAB appeal says the LHC judgment was not passed in consonance with the dictums laid down by ‘this court’ (Supreme Court).

It says the referee judge was not competent to set aside the finding of one member of the LHC division bench who favoured re-investigation.

The bureau says the investigation is a continued process and no embargo can be placed on fresh or further investigation – especially when new material (evidence) has emerged (as the result of JIT investigation in Panama Papers case).

The impugned judgment of LHC is void ab initio and illegal and as such no limitation runs against such void order, the appeal maintains, asking for setting it aside.

Also, the JIT in its report recommended that the NAB might be ordered to file an appeal for reopening of the case, it says.